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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Independent ethics board slams criticism from House ethics committee | Washington Examiner

From the Washington Examiner:

The simmering animosity between the House ethics committee and the newly created Office of Congressional Ethics is on full display in a seven page letter issued publicly Tuesday by the latter panel, which seems a bit on the defensive about its role in policing House lawmakers...The trouble started on October 29, when the House ethics committee, which is made up of 10 House lawmakers appointed by the Speaker and Minority Leader, leveled "six criticisms" at the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which is made up of appointed lay people and tasked as an independent overseer of the ethics process in the House. The OCE was formed in response to public anger over corruption in Congress and a lack of action by the House ethics panel, which almost never disciplines members...The House ethics committee accused the OCE of disclosing witness names, ignoring evidence, overstepping its authority and withholding exculpatory evidence from a lawmaker under investigation, among other things...The OCE, chaired by former congressmen David Skaggs (D) and Porter Goss (R), fired back on Tuesday, telling the House ethics panel it has properly followed the rules and to essentially butt out..."In conclusion, the Board believes the interests of the House and the public will be better served if both the [House ethics committee] and the OCE each focus on their own internal rules," the OCE letter states.
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Independent ethics board slams criticism from House ethics committee | Washington Examiner

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